2019's Christmas festivities are here! As is tradition, the NBA will be hard at work and front and center on this day, with five games will airing from Christmas afternoon until the early hours early Thursday morning.
Boston Celtics-Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks-Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets-Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers-Los Angeles Lakers, and New Orleans Pelicans-Denver Nuggets will all air on Wednesday. That's a lot of action to take in from your couch, so with that in mind, here are five things to watch for on Christmas Day in the NBA.
5. Mile-High Upset?
The NBA booked this matchup with the thought that No. 1 overall pick Zion WIlliamson would be healthy. Instead, his season is in flux due to knee problems. The Pels actually did defeat the Denver Nuggets earlier this season, but the Nuggets have vastly improved since then, as evidenced by their current seven-game winning streak. New Orleans have won two of their past three games, including one over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday; can they make it two-for-two against Denver on Christmas night? Don't rule out the upset special.
4. Rockets Revenge
The Houston Rockets have endured various heartbreaking losses to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs in recent years. Now, James Harden and Russell Westbrook have the chance to stomp on a vulnerable Dubs squad. Earlier this season, Houston defeated Golden State 129-112. If you're a Warriors hater, tune in to see the Rockets potentially outscore them by 20 points or more in San Francisco.
3. Kemba Walker vs. Kyle Lowry
The Boston Celtics are on a roll, as they are just five games behind the potent Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors are banged up, and their best player, Pascal Siakam, is out indefinitely. While this game is heavily in Boston's favor, basketball fans will be treated to an All-Star point guard battle between Kemba Walker and Kyle Lowry. Walker has averaged 22.6 points and 5.4 assists, while Lowry has tallied an average of 20.7 points and 7.5 assists on the year. Keep your eyes peeled once these two match up on the court.
2. Giannis vs. Everybody
Few gave the Milwaukee Bucks a chance against the Los Angeles Lakers last week. Yet, Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated and flexed his muscles over LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Can a stout 76ers squad including Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid find a way to silence the Greek Freak, or will the reigning MVP put another foe out to pasture? This could very well be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals.
1. The Battle of Los Angeles
Yes, the Lakers and Clippers both met in the regular season opener, but Paul George wasn't active due to shoulder surgery this past offseason. On Christmas night, the two Los Angeles power duos will do battle for bragging rights. Can LeBron James and Anthony Davis outscore the Clips, or will the Clippers defense help pave way to huge nights from George and Kawhi Leonard? Tune in at 8 p.m. ET, as this is can't-miss television.